Associate editor, atomicpopcorn.net
Hard Boiled is what most action films aspire to be but lose their plot along the way. Directed by John Woo, this opus of bullets actually has a story worth telling about two men who’ve been pushed to the edge of sanity. Chow Yun-Fat gives a terrific performance as Tequila, the brash hothead of the force who leaps (literally) before he looks. He’s counterbalanced by Tony Leung as Alan, a quiet undercover cop blurring the line between good and evil. Action is in abundance and it’s all top-notch, featuring a teahouse shootout and an explosive finale at a hospital. Hard Boiled is a near perfect action film that deserves your attention.
Hard Boiled (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition) (Hong Kong) 1992, Dragon Dynasty
The cackle of distortion rages over 1960s rock songs, while Max Fischer, a wunderkind at a prestigious academy, stargazes over a teacher in director Wes Anderson’s idiosyncratic romantic comedy Rushmore. The movie is a buoyant ode to style and love as ribbons of color shoot over the screen. Rushmore is spattered by witty dialogue, and one of the best, most unlikely love triangles in movie history. Make sure to pay attention to the breezy, flippant score by former Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh.
One of the best horror films ever made is The Innocents. Deborah Kerr, ravaged by reveries of washed-out colors and the creepiest children, battles for her sanity in this 1960s film adaptation of Turn of the Screw.
Rushmore (USA) 1999, Criterion Collection
The Innocents (USA) 1961, Twentieth Century Fox
Founder/senior editor, soberingconclusion.com
Jack Frost. No, not the Michael Keaton version but the 1996 B-comedy-horror film with a Shannon Elizabeth cameo. In this delightful romp, a killer mutates into a snowman and uses his newfound powers to begin a bloodbath. The special effects are hilariously (and intentionally) bad enough to make this a perfect “horrible but fun” film to enjoy with friends.
Susanne Bier’s After the Wedding is a beautiful portrayal of the lengths people will go to in order to spare their loved ones pain. Whether that means pandering to a rich man to save a haven for poor children in India or revisiting painful former relationships to mitigate the pain of loss, Bier triumphs at bearing the human condition on screen like a badge of honor.
Jack Frost (USA) 1997, Allumination
After the Wedding (Denmark) 2006